Can You Be Prepared as a Traveler?

As I have done a lot of traveling, people have asked me lots of travel questions. One of the most interesting I get, from time to time, is “Can I really be prepared to see everything I’m going to see?”

You can never be prepared to see everything you’ll see when you travel outside of your country. When I went to Italy, I was totally amazed by how BIG the cathederals were, and in Germany I was amazed at how much destruction was caused during World War Two. In China, I was amazed by how much power the emperors really had. So, can you ever be ready to see everything there is to see? No, I don’t think so. But I think that’s an awesome thing. It all depends on your perspective, and there are two answers to this question.

Americans live a life that is filled with all kinds of creature comforts. There are many parts of the world where they don’t have these comforts and get along just fine without them. I read a statistic which said that 50% of the world’s population has never made a phone call, so don’t be surprised if, when you travel, there are parts of the world which are very “underdeveloped” by American standards. Also, the bathrooms are a bit different everywhere you go. I can’t exactly tell you how, or what is different, because it varies from place to place, but just be aware that the bathrooms may be a bit different.

The other side of the answer to this question is that there are parts of the world, particularly in the big cities in Asia, where you feel like you’ve traveled at least 10 years into the future. Downtown Shanghai looks like something out of a movie about 2020. It’s incredible! And the facilities in many big cities can be brand new in many parts of the city, so that’s the other extreme you get.

You’ll get to see a lot by visiting both rural areas and big cities. My advice is to try and take off your “America glasses” (i.e. don’t try to analyze everything from your American perspective), and really try to view the people for who they are and how their life works for them.

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